Who is it?

Job 9: 24

If it is not he, then who is it?

You know the story of Job and of how great his suffering was. Job was a godly man so when calamity struck his house he was bewildered. The book of Job records conversations he had with his “friends”. In today’s passage Job is answering Bildad. He makes the assertion that so many Christians make which is essentially that God is the source of our trouble and misfortune.  

I was guilty of this myself. In my early years I, like everyone, suffered some hardships. My religious training had not taught me that there was a source of evil in the world. I remember saying to someone who was a Christian, “It must be God who is causing these bad things to happen to me.” It was a horrible thing to say to a believer but do you know what? He didn’t correct me. He didn’t explain to me how wrong I was and about the goodness and love of our God. Surely he believed in John 3: 16, who doesn’t? How, then, do we reconcile this God of love who gave everything to save us with the ideology of a God who inflicts pain and suffering? We cannot because the two are irreconcilable.

The devil has done quite a number on the church. He has reduced his image to that of a cute Halloween costume. He has shifted our understanding of him to fantasy and make believe. However, we have the means to learn and know the truth. James 1: 5 is the pronouncement of a major theme of the Bible, that being that the Lord, our God, gives us wisdom. The wisdom of God reveals all truth, so, the devil cannot hide in his lies when wisdom has come upon the scene. He is always exposed for the liar that he is.

When bad things happen, we need to understand that the devil is our enemy (1 Peter 5: 8). However, we can take comfort in knowing that our Lord has already defeated the enemy which means that we are no longer subject to the devil. We can overcome all of his machinations through the victory of Jesus. The first step, however, is in not being deceived that there is no devil or that our benevolent Father is the source of the bad things that happen in life. Believe me, when I thought that God was the source of trouble in my life I could not receive relief. It is only in our Father that we can triumph. 1 Corinthians 13: 8 says that love never fails. Well, here is an example of that non-failing force. Love always wins so we take the love of God, which is God’s very substance, and we apply it to the problem and love wins every time.

Your Father loves you more than you can imagine and He would never inflict harm on you. He only wants good for you and since He is love and goodness that is all that He has to give you. Give the devil his proper due and put him back under your feet where he belongs.

Free for the Asking

James 1: 5

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

There is not one among us who does not, at some time, lack wisdom but we have good news delivered to us by Jesus’ brother, James. James walked out his beliefs through experience with God and Jesus. James wasn’t always a believer. Once James, along with Jesus’ other brothers went to seize him and take him home because they thought he was out of his mind (Mark 3: 21). But James watched and listened and he became a pillar of the church. He learned the ways of God even though he began in doubt and unbelief. Therefore, when James speaks, we can trust that he came by his knowledge through experience with the Christ. When he tells us that we can receive wisdom freely from our Father then we can trust that he knew what he was talking about because James lived it. The first step to receiving wisdom from God is believing that God will give it to you. Hopefully having James the unbelieving tell you from his own experience that God gives wisdom freely resolves the first problem.  

The second part is hearing God. Sometimes our receptors malfunction and though God is giving His wisdom freely and generously we can’t receive it. Here is a technique that I use to help me see through God’s eyes. I counsel myself. More accurately, I imagine someone else with my problem and think about what I would tell them if I was advising them. In this way I advise myself but with the wisdom of God because with this technique I find it quite easy to receive the wisdom of God. Another method I use is to picture myself seated at a table with God. I explain the situation to Him and then I look at Him and hear what He says about it. This level of focus helps me to receive His wisdom because it takes the pressure off of me to “hear” the voice of God. I just look at this scenario I have set, see myself there with Father and just listen to what He says to the me in the image. 

One other thing that helps me sometimes is to get a new perspective. Move out of yourself and see yourself and your situation through someone else’s eyes or from their view. It’s like stepping back from the situation and viewing it from a third person perspective. Sometimes we are so close to a situation that we cannot see, so it helps to move away. And here is one last little trick that I often use. Picture yourself standing on the moon looking down at the earth. What do you see? Do some global issues take on a different appearance from out there? Now, can you zoom into your world? Look at your environment. What is really important there? Are you spending your energy on the things that are most important? If you and God could sit there together and look at your life with this perspective what, if anything, would you do differently? Which problems no longer look so big?

I believe these techniques will help you to relax and gain the Father’s perspective and wisdom. We try so hard to hear Him sometimes that we block the flow. He is happy to lead you by His wisdom so take every little and large situation to Him and let Him show you His way.